Officials clash over accusations of pay-to-play politics
NORRISTOWN » Montgomery County Commissioners Joe Gale and Val Arkoosh sparred at a recent meeting after Gale accused Arkoosh of continuing a tradition of “pay-to-play politics” in Montgomery County by catering real estate decisions to benefit her campaign donors.
Arkoosh, the board’s chairwoman and a Democrat, categorically denied the allegation, saying Gale, the only Republican on the three-member governing body, doesn’t have any evidence to support his accusations and doesn’t understand the decision-making process.
“He has no evidence because there is no evidence,” Arkoosh said. “All of my campaign finance reports are public as is the case for any of us. They’re required to be public. You can look at all of my contributions.”
Redevelopment and investment
The tense exchange played out before and after a 2-1 decision (which Gale voted against) at the June 15 meeting to approve a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance application to ELON Development Co. for the 50-unit Montgomery Park Senior Housing complex at 1301 Powell St., Norristown, located on the former Montgomery Hospital site.
The four story, 42,000-squarefoot, $14.5 million project is a collaboration with the Einstein Health Network. The facility will house 50 affordable one-bedroom units for seniors ages 62 and older and will be the first phase of redeveloping the former hospital’s site, which has already been subdivided.
LERTAS are awarded to promote redevelopment and investment in deteriorated properties. The developer must show improvement to the property that would trigger a property reassessment, according
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